England can cope up with the loss of Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola - Will Greenwood

Owen Farrell will miss the first two Rugby World Cup pool games for England
Owen Farrell will miss the first two Rugby World Cup pool games for England

The loss of the skipper Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola in the early stage of the upcoming Rugby World Cup will not hamper England's chances in the tournament according to former international Will Greenwood.

Farrell, who was initially cleared by an Independent Judicial Committee following a red-card in the warm-up against Wales for a high tackle on Taine Basham is now suspended for four matches after the World Rugby appealed against the verdict.

Having already missed the game against Ireland, the Saracens fly-half will now also miss the warm-up game against Fiji and the first two World Cup matches against Argentina and Japan.

Meanwhile, Saracens back row Vunipola will also miss the encounter against the Pumas after red carded during the warm-up game against Ireland.

Despite the double setback, Greenwood insists Steve Borthwick's men are unlikely to be affected in the opening round.

"It is always a blow when you lose your captain and a guaranteed starter. It is frustrating but England will cope with it," Greenwood told Sky Sports News.

"It is a bump but not a mountain the way the pools have been done. They could easily lose to Argentina and still find themselves in a quarter-final because they would have to beat Chile, Japan and Samoa.

"Many England fans are counting the blessings of the rather disastrous system World Rugby put in place to pick the pools so far out from the World Cup. You are certainly not complaining if you are English.

"Jack Willis could defend at No 8 while Ben Earl is at No 7. Then in attack, switch it around. Earl explode off the base and Willis the first to clean the ruck out.

"The interchangeability England have - Eddie Jones flirted with making Tom Currie his out and out No 8. I think [Vunipola's absence] is less of an issue than people are potentially making out."